When the Völkl Mantra first landed at ski shops in 2005, it gained an immediate following. The ski was an all mountain charger, with two full sheets of Titanal sandwiching a sturdy wood core. Current and former ski racers were drawn to the first generation like moths to a flame: it had all the dampness and chargeability as a race ski, but a width and sidecut that catered to a level of all-mountain versatility that had not yet been seen in the industry.
Since then, for better or for worse, the ski has gone through some changes and also had some stiff competition when other ski brands added metal to their all mountain chargers. But, next season, Völkl will unveil the fifth generation of the ski, and quite possibly, the best version ever.
First and foremost, the Mantra M5—M5 stands for the 5th Generation—brings back traditional camber underfoot but keeps well-positioned rocker in the tip and tail. If that alone is not enough to bring you back on to team Mantra, the company also invested heavily in modifying the upper layer of Titanal so there is only metal underfoot and U-shaped forks in the tip and tail, which the company is calling the Titanal Frame. There is still a full sheet of Titanal underneath the multi-layer wood core. Additionally, the engineers added carbon in the tip of the shovel, which adds a level of torsional rigidity and makes the ski snappy from turn to turn.
The modified amount of Titanal in the Mantra M5 makes it lighter than previous versions, as does the modified sidecut and shorter turn radius. Measuring in at 96mm underfoot and 134mm in the shovel, and a 19.8m turn radius in the 177cm length, the Mantra M5 and the narrower Secret—the women’s version with a 92mm waist that replaces the Aura—still have a full sidewall and sandwich construction, providing Völkl’s signature stability everywhere on the mountain.
SKI Magazine has had the opportunity to test the Mantra M5 in Sölden, Austria, and at SKI Magazine’s Product Intro Week in Vail, Colorado alongside the Secret. Out of nearly 50 skis tested in Vail, it was the cream of the crop in its category, providing an unmatched combination of stability, smoothness and, more so than ever before, liveliness that made it incredibly fun to ski in all types of snow conditions.
Of the Mantra M5, one tester gushed, “Like a European sports car, it smoothly powers through everything with the quiet assurance that it’s the king of the hill.” And, for the Secret, “This is the ever-so-slightly more confident granddaughter of the original Völkl Aura that we all know and love.”
Look out for the Mantra M5 and Secret in September 2018, when you’ll also be able to find final review in the SKI Magazine 2019 Gear Guide.